Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Hi all. Thanks to Justin and Scott for telling me about this awesome blog, and thanks to Ben for setting me up as a contributor. I am a plant ecologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. I get to spend my summers traipsing through the woods and training budding botanists to identify every plant they see, no matter how small or vegetative. I love it, and I'm not likely to get bored anytime soon, trying to learn all the plants in the Missouri Ozarks!
I photographed this specimen on November 1st of this year, in a dry-mesic woodland about a 1/2 mile from the Current River in Shannon County. Associated plants include Asimina triloba and Asarum canadense. It has a taproot. No odor.
Justin and Scott may NOT participate in this quiz: Justin identified the mystery plant for me at the botany slideshow.
Keith gave the very first guess and nailed it... it is the fall foliage of the biennial Osmorhiza claytonii, getting ready to bloom in spring. Obviously I'll have to pick a harder one next!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Some of you may be asking yourself "Doesn't Strophostyles helvula have lobate lateral leaflets?". That is where I was a bit tricky. This is actually S. helvula var. missouriensis which lacks the lobes on the lateral leaflets (the typical variety has lobed leaflets).
Vegetatively the genus Strophostyles can be distinguish from Amphicarpaea bracteata, which it most resembles, by its erect stipules. Amphicarpaea looks exactly like Strophostyles helvula var. missouriensis but has appressed stipules. By clicking on the photo above you can see the stipules in the enlarged version. They are perpendicular to the stem.
Lesson learned; Librarians make great botanist. If only it worked both ways.
Thanks to everyone for playing!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It is difficult to post a quiz on this blog that lasts more than a day without an answer. Justin correctly identified the mystery seedling in the photograph above as Penthorum sedoides. Ditch Stonecrop, as it is commonly known, is native to wet meadows, marshes, ditches, and muddy shores throughout the eastern half of North America, and has been introduced in the Pacific Northwest. Once accepted as a member of the family Saxifragaceae, it seems that most authorities now place this interesting plant in the family Crassulaceae; some even put it the Penthoraceae. As this species matures, it produces greenish-white, inconspicuous flowers; the flowers develop into attractive reddish follicles with spreading beaks, shown below. Penthorum means "five-mark," a reference to the five-parted flowers, and sedoides means "resembling Sedum."
Monday, November 2, 2009
Henry David Thoreau said, "Nature made ferns for pure leaves, to show what she could do in that line." Well said, and noted!